My Honest Review of Kitchen Confidence, Frugal Farm Wife’s Course on Meal Planning

My Honest Review of Kitchen Confidence, Frugal Farm Wife’s Course on Meal Planning

 

This course definitely saved me money this month! $100 and counting. Well worth the price of the course.

 

DISCLAMER: I am an affiliate for this course and I do make a profit on a percentage of the sales made. I only promote products I have used and liked, including this one. BUY THE COURSE HERE

My Affiliate link: https://transactions.sendowl.com/stores/8651/107786

 

The Knowledge Presented In Kitchen Confidence WILL Save You Money!

There are plenty of super helpful budget-saving suggestions and lessons here. I recommend this course to anyone with a grocery budget that they want to stick to!

  • PROS:

This is a great course for the beginner and a nice refresher, and even an inspiration, for more experienced meal planners. While I didn’t do all of the steps/lessons in their entirety as a LOT of the steps were extremely time intensive and, in my opinion, simply overkill, the knowledge base that Elise of www.FrugalFarmWife.com presents is very solid and extremely helpful. I learned a lot about how to provide low priced, nutritious foods for my family.

As a bonus, she provides a nice introduction to couponing which is definitely a solid base for anyone who wants to try their hand at couponing. However, I did notice that she didn’t mention using digital coupons, which is my life-blood at the moment. lol

  • CONS:

An example of “overkill” in her lesson plan for me would be the lesson on comparing food prices. What she suggested for accomplishing this list would have taken way too long. For me, meal planning should save me time, not require an excess of planning. Her suggestion would have taken 5 hours or more. For ONE step. And required me finding a babysitter for that period of time. First, no. Secondly, I’m just not doing that. Lol

  • Summary:

Aside from the suggestions of intensive list writing/building/compiling which I simply decided was not for me, I really enjoyed this meal planning course and I do believe that, should you decide to take the course, the knowledge she presents, when applied to your grocery budget and meal plan, will save you money and pay for itself in a week or less. It has saved me $100 already. I know this because I compared this month’s food budget to last month’s food budget. I was over budget by $100 last month! (shame shame, I know lol) I am on track this month because I used the Kitchen Confidence Course. If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.

 

This course has good advice for keeping track of and using what you have for a meal plan to save money.

 

Why I decided to take the course:

Elise generously offered to let me review her course as a beta tester.

I agreed to review this course because I was was looking for a way to step back into more solid meal planning after getting very discouraged with trying the more mainstream meal planning programs.

 

I admit, I was skeptical of yet another “meal planning course” that would have impossible requirements that do not work for my family.

 

I have some pretty picky eaters, so most of the meal planning courses that I have attempted in the past have been all but impossible for these reasons:

 

Meal planning courses that I have attempted in the past have been all but impossible for my family.

 

  • Why Most Meal Planning Courses do NOT work for my family:
  1. Most courses (I have found) that teach meal planning include mostly crockpot meals which my family doesn’t enjoy and make too much food for our needs.
  2. They include specific recipes in their meal plans which call for ingredients that I know my family will not eat or my family is allergic to.
  3. They require specific recipes which are allocated to a specific space on an arbitrary 30 day “meal calendar.” This doesn’t fit our family as we are very picky about what recipes we like and we like flexibility in being able to choose our meals.

 

Kitchen Confidence is the first Meal Planning Course I have found that (Mostly) works for my family!

  • WHY Kitchen Confidence by Frugal Farm Wife (mostly) works for me:
  1. We are able to use our OWN recipes!
  2. She has great suggestions on how to compile lists that help with grocery shopping and meal planning. I didn’t use all of her suggestions to the fullest because they are too time intensive for my needs. But I simplified her list-making suggestions to fit my needs and they have definitely helped me to stay on track and save money.
  3. She “gets it” when it comes to planning special needs meals, especially where special diets are required. So she doesn’t require that her own recipes be used for this course!
  • Recipes

She does list some of her own recipes as examples within the course. The recipes she presents are optional, easy, and healthy! (They also look delicious.)

  • I would recommend this course!

I would suggest taking this course. I think it’s worth the investment of time and money.

This course definitely saved me money this month! $100 and counting. Well worth the price of the course.

Caveat: I would suggest taking the course with a mind to tailoring the steps to fit your schedule. I skipped time-intensive, and what I thought unnecessary, steps.

And now….a WARNING:

If you’re not a make-a-huge-list-for-everything fan, be warned. This course has so….many….lists. HOWEVER, don’t let that scare you off or deter you from taking the course. I just used what I thought would be useful to me, saved some things for later or for an extended timeline to finish (like I plan on doing her suggestion of a freezer inventory, but not as she suggests doing it all at once,) or I simply did not do the step. *insert shrug here*

There are plenty of super helpful budget-saving suggestions and lessons here. I recommend this course to anyone with a grocery budget that they want to stick to!

Checkout her “bite sized” intro videos for a sample of how her course, Kitchen Confidence may be able to help you:

 

https://frugalfarmwife.lpages.co/kitchen-confidence-meal-plan-training/

 

https://frugalfarmwife.lpages.co/kitchen-confidence-meal-plan-training/

 

https://frugalfarmwife.lpages.co/kitchen-confidence-meal-plan-training/

Low Sugar and Low Cholesterol Recipes

My husband and I have low sugar and low cholesterol dietary needs respectively. We attempt to create tasty meals which meet both of our needs.

Below is my list of recipes that we enjoy together and are on a (pretty) regular rotation. I’ve put this together after rigorous testing, searching, blood, sweat aaaand yes, tears. Cooking is not my forte.

NOTE: This is what works for my family. I AM NOT a healthcare professional (obviously) so make sure you’re doing whatever your doctor recommends!

Low Sugar/Low Cholesterol Recipes (I’ll be adding to this as we find stuff we like)

  • Chicken breast

Defrost 3 chicken breasts in the refrigerator.

Heat a pan with about 4 tbls of olive oil to medium heat.

Place chicken breasts in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. If the pan doesn’t sizzle when chicken is added, wait until the oil is heated.

Cook chicken about 5 minutes on each side or until mostly cooked through. Leave to rest on a plate before serving/cutting.

TIP: I love to precook these and cut up to serve over salads, send in lunches with veggies, and serve with pita bread and tzatziki sauce. I’ve even put them in serving size baggies in the freezer!

 

 

 

 

  • Lentil and Ground Beef Spaghetti Sauce with Veggie Noodles:

Rinse lentils

Cook 1 cup of lentils with 2 cups of water and 1 beef bullion cube. Stir periodically. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30-45 mins or until tender and the water is absorbed. Add more water if you need to cook them more. (You can cook these separately and eat as a side dish if you want.)

Cook 1 pound of ground beef (we use 80/20) in a separate pan. Add the lentils.

Add two 24oz jars of spaghetti sauce and simmer and stir for about 10 mins.

While simmering the sauce, boil water and add veggie noodles. We like these: Ronzoni Garden Delight

Drain noodles. Serve with sauce.

TIP: I usually make a huge batch and then freeze sauce in serving portions. Using lentils not only reduces the cholesterol content, but it stretches the more expensive ingredient, beef.

  • Cucumber Salad – (it’s Tzatziki sauce with larger slices of cucumber.)

 

  • Cured Salmon (My husband used vodka instead of smoke flavoring.)

 

  • Whole Wheat Pancakes – This is a great resource HERE for easy pancakes

 

  • Boiled Eggs (I don’t eat the yolk because it has all the cholesterol. I eat the white part.)

 

  • Whole Wheat Bagels with Cream Cheese

  • Brown Rice (I use olive oil instead of coconut oil and I add either beef or chicken bouillon) In the picture I used the same pan I cooked the chicken in. Saves time. Adds flavor!

 

Do you have any favorite recipes?

Banana Bread Recipe

I make this banana bread about twice a month. Both my picky eater boys love this recipe! It’s a safe food for both of them and I’ve added some healthier ingredients like whole wheat flour, flax seed and oatmeal to the mix.

I make mini muffins, but the recipe can be easily adapted for loaves of banana bread. However, my kids ONLY eat the mini muffin versions.

 

It does make a pretty loaf though:

TIP: Freeze your over-ripe bananas in a freezer bag and add to it until you have enough to make banana bread. Takes about 4-5 good sized bananas.

BANANA BREAD MUFFINS

By Scout Semmes

Onethousandwordstohome.com

INGREDIENTS:

1 ¼ CUPS SUGAR

½ CUP BUTTER – softened to room temperature

2 EGGS

1 ½ CUPS MASHED BANANAS – overripe are best

1 ½ CUPS MILK

1 TEASPOON VANILLA

3/4 CUP OF VEGETABLE OIL

1 ½ CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR

1/2 CUP WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR

½ CUP PLAIN QUICK OATMEAL

1 TEASPOON BAKING SODA

1 TEASPOON SALT

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS:

⅓ cup Flax Seeds

2 TBLS Brewer’s Yeast

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oven 350 degrees. Grease bottoms of muffin and/or loaf pans (or use baking cups for muffins)
  2. Mash bananas in a medium bowl with a potato masher or your electric mixer.
  3. In a separate large bowl, mix sugar and butter with a spoon until well incorporated and smooth. Or use your electric mixer.
  4. Add eggs to butter and sugar. Mix until eggs are well blended to create a creamy texture.
  5. Add bananas, milk, oil and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  6. Stir in flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt. (add optional ingredients if desired at this point) Mixture will have a “batter-like” consistency.

Divide batter evenly among greased pans and/or muffin cups. Fill greased pans with batter: ¾ full for loaf pan and ¾ full for muffin cups.

Bake 45 minutes – one hour for loaf, 25 minutes for muffins, and 19-22 mins for mini muffins or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 mins. Remove carefully from pans to cooling rack.

Makes about 2 loaves OR about 5 dozen mini muffins

To freeze muffins:

Wait until completely cool. Remove muffins from cupcake pans to a sheet tray. Place muffins on sheet tray without allowing them to touch. If you need more room put aluminum foil on top of the first layer and put the rest on top of the aluminum foil. Freeze for 30 minutes or until flash frozen. Remove to marked freezer bag and seal for up to two months.

To freeze loaves:

Wait until completely cool. Wrap in plastic wrap. Place in marked freezer bag and seal for up to two months.

To defrost mini muffins:

Remove 3 muffins from bag and put on a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 10 seconds. Let stand if too hot.

Or

Defrost in refrigerator until soft

Download the recipe PDF here:

Banana Bread Muffins

Five Recipes Reviewed: January 2017

I made a few meals this week. Most were tried and true deliciousness!

(Edited to add in Feburary of 2018: As of today, my family doesn’t like or eat anything from this list with the sole exception of the Whole Wheat Banana Bread. We had these recipes a few times, got tired of them really quickly, and never wanted them again. After a few tries, they were neither very tasty nor in keeping with our diets.) Read More

Meal Prepping Challenge: Week One

EIGHT MEALS: WEEK ONE

One of my goals is to meal prep 8 individual meals per week. This is to make more time for writing by spending less time in the kitchen.
Meal Prepping is going great so far. It’s helping me and my family to eat better without stressing over cooking every night.
  • Prepping Individual Meals
I love prepping Crockpot freezer meals and freezer cooking in general. But lately I’ve also been loving prep for individual healthy meals!
In the videos we watched they had similar meal prep containers, but I got super cheap ones from Kroger. They were $1.99 for 4.

Our meal prep containers:

Prepping individually packaged, from-scratch meals makes it so easy to eat a healthy meal even when pressed for time or when trying to juggle small kids. I can just grab a meal out of the fridge (or even freezer) with very little prep, if any. Also, this works great for making sure my husband has lunches to bring to work that are:

1. Appetizing
2. Healthy
@fitcouplecooks YouTube videos are so easy and so good for individual meals. We’ve done a few and so far: delicious. I’ve made variations on their meals in the last couple weeks:

I’ll confess a little secret. I’ve stepped out of our comfort zone with two ingredients.

  1. Brown rice
  2. Quinoa

I’m embracing new and healthier options! I didn’t even know how to cook it these correctly before this past week.

 Thankfully, @fitcouplecooks provided perfect, delicious instructions for quinoa and brown rice!
  • More @fitcouplecooks goodness…

My husband made their delicious healthy chicken nuggets! This was an A+ winner recipe. I don’t have a pic…because we ate it all!

I’d recommend @fitcouplecooks recipes available on YouTube. They have easy to follow videos and inspired me to build my own meal prep meals!

Here’s a look at what I’ve done this week for my 8 meals!

  • Black bean brown rice burgers – 2 meals (frozen for later)

I made a huge pot of black beans from scratch the other night, so I’ve been trying to find ways to use them.
Note: making beans from scratch is a great way to use your crockpot! Also, making them from scratch is a good way to make beans that don’t have added salt, like you would find in canned beans.
I found a great black bean burger recipe. I’ve made some failed black bean burgers, but this one is even husband-approved! (I omitted the onions.)
  • salad with black beans and quinoa – 4 meals

I added salsa, taco sauce and cheese and heated in the microwave. Delish!

Confession: I did not follow the recipe exactly…
Here are the ingredients I used (“to taste”) for the ground beef:
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Taco Bell mild sauce
Taco seasoning
Salt
(Cooked) Black Beans
And after cooking, I topped with:
salsa
olives
lettuce
We ate this with organic, low-salt corn chips.
The Nachos fed us each dinner plus at least 4 more meals in leftovers!
I’m over my quota for meals this week; which means more time for writing, less time cooking.
Apparently, I don’t have to sacrifice healthy meals to make time for writing. Meal prep for individual meals has bought me time all week!
Do you meal prep, freezer cook or crockpot freezer cook? Let me know how you save time in the kitchen!

5 Ways to GET MORE WRITING DONE when you’re too busy

day 3

This is me. 6:30am Saturday morning. I love writing. That’s why I’m awake.

My Writer Stats:

Wakeup time: 6:30am
Word count: 3,487
GOAL: 25K
Playlist:
Avicii, Wake Me Up
Joshua Bell, Beethoven Symphonies No. 4 & 7
I’m a self-titled Day to Day Prepper. So, what on earth do I mean? What is a Day to Day Prepper?

A “prepper” to me would be people who are preparing for something. A hurricane, a power outage, the zombie apocalypse….

See people who are prepping for when SHTF with crazy guns, hunting and stockpiling…Be assured, this is NOT what I’m talking about. lol

I’m a prepper in as much as I try to prepare for the inevitable: being BUSY. My goal each day is to get at least a little writing done. This is what I do to make that happen…most days.

“Busy” is the death knell for writers because we can always tell ourselves, “I’m just too busy to write.” And really, that can go for anything in life you want to do. You’re just way too busy. So, to combat that, I am a Day to Day Prepper. Makes sense, right? #lifehacks #writerslife

DAY TO DAY PREPPER IN 5 EASY STEPS:

1. MENU PLAN

This doesn’t need to be and really shouldn’t be complicated. I do a loose menu plan based on what’s on sale, in my freezer and pantry. I just have a general idea of meals that we will have for the coming week. I am by no means an expert in meal planning. I just use it as a means to my goal: get more writing done. Some great resources for meal planning are at www.moneysavingmom.com. HERE

2. FREEZER AND BATCH COOKING

Again…don’t get this complicated. I do one freezer meal prep per weekend and make about 3 of the same one. Maybe with a bit of variation. We stick to easy-to-make simple meals around here. Cheaper and easier. For example, when I buy chicken breasts I buy them in bulk and on sale. I dump serving sizes into freezer bags with different marinades. I label them with cooking instructions and freeze. Easy peasy. Find MORE freezer meals at www.moneysavingmom.com and New Leaf Wellness. These are my go-to sites. Oh, and The Virtuous Wife has amazing freezer recipes. Can’t really go wrong here.

3. EVENING ROUTINE

My goal for my evenings is to go to bed early! I need to get 7-8 hours of sleep. That’s me. And it does NOT always happen. Not consistent. EVER. Why, you may be asking. I have a two year old.

But, I still want to remain as sane as possible. Sometimes this means I can clean my kitchen before I go to be, sometimes it doesn’t. I just try to get enough prep done for the next day. I don’t want to scramble in the morning because I have no clean socks and no apple juice for my kid’s sippy cup. But…I still want to get to bed before 3 am. Technically, you could go hard core prepper and lay out every article of clothing, have your kid’s breakfast dishes laid out in a perfectly clean kitchen and make sure you mop the floor before bed, but seriously, WHY? Why would you do that to yourself? Maybe you will have the perfect day and this will happen AND you will get to bed. You are a magician and I applaud you. Please pretty please comment with your secrets!

But for me…If I try to do everything the night before when I’m dragging after being up half the night before with a sick child, that’s just not doable. I get enough done that I can find stuff and get dressed and get out the door without wanting to scream in frustration. Sure, my kitchen isn’t clean. Whatever. Because, for me, I can be perfectly prepared for the next day, go to bed at 3 am and STILL feel way behind when I wake up. Because I’m exhausted.

I’m just saying, a little goes a very long way when it comes to prepping for the next day and an evening routine.

4. MORNING ROUTINE

Still working on this one. But, coming along nicely. www.moneysavingmom.com and Michael Hyatt are great resources and these guys know their stuff!

I’m still mostly at phase one. GET OUT OF BED. lol

It took me two months to get two where I’m mostly regular in getting up before 6am. I get some writing before my two year old is up and ready for the world, happy squeaking with diaper sagging and pacifier plugged firmly in the mouth. He’s a cutie, but I’m biased.

5. MAKE A LIST

Make a list. Or several different lists. On your phone, on a piece of paper….of stuff you need to get done. Grocery list, list of characters for your romance, list of freezer meals in your freezer…When you have a list and you get interrupted…(gosh, when does that ever happen) you can be reminded of what you were doing and where you left off. Keep it simple and short though. Again, www.moneysavingmom.com @CrystalPaine. She rocks.

 

MY CURRENT FREEZER MEALS:

Here’s an idea of what I’m talking about when it comes to prepping meals. These are an example of what’s in my freezer. Yes. We eat a lot of chicken.

Enchiladas:

photo 2

I just used chicken, corn tortillas, cheese and canned enchilada sauce. Boom! Fancy recipe here: http://www.amandathevirtuouswife.com/2011/05/beef-enchilada-tutorial.html#.VXGVZ89VhBc

Chicken:

photo 1

This is exactly what it looks like. I baked chicken which I previously marinaded in Italian dressing. Then I cut up the cooked chicken. I froze the cooked chicken. BOOM! Dinner anyone?

 

Please comment and share your prepping or lack thereof…we hear ya.